Condoleezza Rice: I Get The Security Concerns, But The US Should Accept Refugees

Ben Margot/AP

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday (in a room with a governor who said he’d refuse refugees) that she understood the concerns over the security risks, but that the United States needed to accept refugees, as reported by

Rice made the remarks at the 38th annual Southeast U.S.-Japan conference, in Birmingham, Alabama, according to the publication.

Among those in attendance was Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) who had released a statement Sunday that said he would not “stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.” He was one of 13 governors to release statements to that effect.

Rice acknowledged Bentley at the conference, but said the country needs to be “open and welcoming” to refugees.

“I fundamentally understand that you in a position of authority, like you, governor and others, in addition to having compassion for others, you have to be safety conscious for your people,” Rice said, nodding at Bentley. “What the United States has done is to be open to people who are fleeing tyranny, who are fleeing danger, but we have done it in a very careful way that has worked for us.”